So there it goes… a week of films in and around downtown Traverse City where we call home. Aside from the festive atmosphere and positive buzz throughout the City, there’s also been an undercurrent of burbling activism.
I only saw a few movies, all of them documentaries, and each left me with a new sense of motivation, (sometimes anger) to continue the hard work we do.
BUDRUS, was a terrific film detailing the struggle of one village situated on the border of Palestine and Israel. It showed the power of one person’s will to make it right and to use non-violent means to do so. The power of the new media was also an ever-present message in this film which gave the power of P.O.V. to dozens of citizens with small cameras.
AUTO-MAT, a Czeck film about a movement of pedestrians and bicyclists to take back the streets of Prague was uplifting, funny, and inspiring. Many people saw clear application to the efforts right here in Northern Michigan.
Finally, the Short Docs collection was a mix of short films covering a range of subject matter, from a look at ice-fishing and the devastation of small farm towns in rural North Dakota, to a hilarious peek into the lives of young Muslims seeking love “Dubai Style.”
Two of the shorts were produced with northern Michigan connections: PARASITES – A USERS GUIDE was a humorous if frustrating look at the use of parasitic worms in the treatment of severe allergies and other ailments including M.S.
The last film in the collection left the audience stunned and in tears. BLACKWATER’S YOUNGEST VICTIM chronicled the fight of a Baghdad father to get justice for his nine year-old son killed by hired guns in a public square in Iraq’s capital city. The furor this one man raised, and his unequivocal trust in the the U.S. justice system, moved everyone in the theater.
All this is just to say we’ve had a big week here at OTG headquarters. Events like the Traverse City Film Festival and the dedication of the film makers to telling the hard stories helps us to continue on, knowing we’re headed in the right direction, doing what we can for others not nearly as fortunate or privileged as we.